Many were not particularly expecting a close and thrilling showdown between Olympic champion Nafi Thiam and world gold medallist Katarina Johnson-Thompson due to the Briton’s much-publicised injury-hit build up.
But Johnson-Thompson put herself in the mix with a strong opening morning on Wednesday in Tokyo.
In the opening event of the day Kendell Williams of the United States produced the quickest time with 12.97 (-0.8) from Marthe Koala of Burkina Faso with 13.07 and Anouk Vetter, the 2016 European champion from the Netherlands, clocking 13.09.
Johnson-Thompson was only eighth best overall but her 13.27 (0.2) was her second-best ever. She also won her heat and finished ahead of Thiam in the same race with the Belgian running 13.54 – although she ran 13.56 when she won the 2016 Olympic title in Rio.
Johnson-Thompson’s satisfaction was clear to see as she smiled widely as she finished the race.
The Briton’s high jump was less convincing as she cleared 1.83m only at her second attempt but she went over 1.86m to get valuable points as Thiam build a lead with a 1.92m clearance. Worryingly, Johnson-Thompson was receiving treatment to her Achilles during the competition too.
After two events Thiam leads with 2176 points from Bougard, who also jumped 1.86m, on 2157 and Johnson-Thompson on 2138.
Source: Jason Henderson